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Archive for July, 2012

“Making It” – What does that mean?

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

I once heard an interview of the rock star, Sting. They asked him when he knew he had “made it,” whatever that means. I’ll never forget his story.

He told of being on tour, in one more hotel room. He woke up while a window washer was working outside his window. The worker was whistling. And then Sting recognized the song. It was “Roxanne,” a tune Sting wrote in the mid-’70’s and which became a Billboard Chart hit in 1979.

I felt the amazement with him. Someone you don’t know, in a random city on a random day… whistling your own creation? Wow. I can only imagine.

Reward for Consistent Work

Don’t we all need to feel that our work impacts others? The need for fame as universal as Sting’s isn’t part of my being. However, I relate on a smaller scale.

Once I waited in line at Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor, about an hour from my home… and one of the employees (Tessie) addressed me. She said “You don’t know me, but I know you.” She was a blog reader (2008). I’m SO glad she said hi.

This ColorJoy blog began in 2002 – now around 10,000 posts. Blogging is an odd artform. It’s a little like being a radio DJ. You create, you put it out there, you know people can read it… and most folks read without commenting.

In spite of this anonymity, relatively often I’m in a public space and a reader or student will say hello. I’m always delighted. However, it usually happens near my home.

My Roxanne Moment

Fiber/spinning expert Deb Robson (ROBE-sun) on and I follow each other on Twitter. She and I connected when she read my blog, years ago, and started commenting. We’ve become friends across the continent.

One day, Deb tweeted a link to a web page, and indicated that I might like to read that post. Wow.

Delightful Surprise

You may remember that I taught at Sock Summit ’11. I presented several classes, including Crystal Heels, Turkish sock related techniques, Curvy Grrl tall socks and Pool-Resistant Sock Techniques.* Teaching at the Summit was the highlight of my career to date.

The link Deb mentioned? It was an article in the Portland, Oregon newspaper “The Oregonian.” The reporter celebrates her success after taking my Pool Resistance class.

Allow Me to Smile

I’m floored, delighted, and amazed. First, this knitter had a success after taking my class. Second? She put it where folks on the other side of the USA could read it at their breakfast table…

…and thanks to the Internet? I can read it, my Mother can read it, and the rest of the world, assuming they are interested in knitting, might also read it.

I’m not Sting. However, it’s really wonderful to know my work is reaching so far. It’s incredible to know that one student had a success after taking my class… which specifically was designed to help her fix a pooling problem.

Do you want to read it? Click. Just check out that title! It’s a well-crafted story.

The curse of the pooling yarn: a knitter’s fairy tale

Thank you to Deb Robson of The Independent Stitch blog for the tip. (You must check out her blog… fiber and bicycling and Colorado fire coverage from the human-to-human perspective.)

Extra thanks to Mary Mooney, the reporter/writer. I’m delighted and humbled.


* Pooling is when colors in a multicolored yarn clump together, in what many deem an unattractive effect. A blob of red, then a blob of yellow, perhaps… instead of a well-shuffled overall color distribution.

Here are photos of yarns in differing states of pooling. Whether or not you like it is a very personal thing, but it can distract from some design features.

A Broken Nose, a Lesson Learned

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Today I rode my bicycle to yoga class. It was a bit of a hassle, as the roads where Just B Yoga is located, are being torn up this summer. (REO Town, Lansing, Michigan)

At one corner, I tried to put my foot on the curb to wait for the traffic to clear. Somehow I misjudged and fell (onto grass, nothing hurt but my pride). It reminded me of a story from my childhood.

I’ve told this story before, but never put it in writing. It’s a particularly good lesson when I work with kids. However, it surely has plenty food for thought, even for “grown ups.”

The Clever Bicyclist

When I was in 3rd grade, I spent a lot of time on my bicycle. We had the largest driveway in the neighborhood, so often neighbor kids would come over and ride there with us.

One day I was riding solo around the block. I got a “great idea.” I felt very clever… I would ride my bike with my eyes closed!

Now, this worked for a while. Our streets were asphalt which came right up to the soil and grass of each yard. If I rode to the right of the street, I could feel when I hit the gravel. I’d correct my path by going a little bit to the left. When I felt myself on the asphalt, I’d try to hug the right edge of the road again.

Mind you, both of my parents were educators. Many of my friends came from homes also valuing education, learning and smarts. I got a lot of pleasure and reinforcement when I felt or acted clever.

Drum Roll…

You know it couldn’t end smoothly, right? Well, this was a neighborhood with large enough yards that the mail was delivered by vehicle rather than on foot. Therefore, the mailboxes were out on the street.

There was also the problem of driveways. I had not anticipated this issue.

So… this very clever 3rd grader rode her bike to the right side of the asphalt. With her eyes closed, of course. When she reached an asphalt driveway, she didn’t notice any change in the texture underneath the bicycle. So… when there was a mailbox at the other side of the driveway…

… she hit the mailbox. And broke her nose. And didn’t feel clever anymore.

I was so embarrassed I didn’t tell the truth. I made up a story about hearing a sound and turning my head away from the street to figure out what it was.

I have a transparent face. I can’t fib at all. My mother surely knew I was lying, but I’m thinking she didn’t want to know what the real story might be.

And the Moral is?

Two morals, one more obvious than the other.

1. Being clever is not always an asset. Don’t be so proud of it that you forget your other attributes.

2. Tell your foibles to others. Don’t hide your lessons. Let others learn from a story told, rather than a mistake made. (Humbleness is, hopefully, a by-product of this choice.)

What stories/lessons have you never told?

A Sigh of Relief

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

After a Scorched Season

Mama-bird rain… fat drops
Falling heavy, straight, with intent,
Not a breeze to confuse its path
Into the open mouth
Of the parched, hungry soil.
— Lynn DT Hershberger Hefferan
— July 18, 2012

8 Minutes of Inspiration

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Wake Up Inside

That’s how I write, you see? All these lovers surround me, and they love life, and they tell me about it.
– Ray Bradbury

I discovered Ray Bradbury, the person and artist, about a week before he died. I find myself very grateful for video. It allows me to explore his passion for life, living, working and sharing his passion, even after his death.

At the center of my books is the gift of life.
– Ray Bradbury

I’d read Martian Chronicles in 9th grade (not the right book for one’s first Science Fiction experience). I had no idea that the man behind those stories was such a whole and passionate soul.

When people touch my books, they are alive.
– Ray Bradbury

BrainPicker Led the Way
Lately I’ve been reading a lot of blog posts on BrainPickings.org – a site full of inspiring collections. Quotes, books, authors, videos… she’s brilliant at “curating” amazing snippets of content from diverse locations and presenting them as a whole. I follow her (Maria Popova) on Twitter as @BrainPicker, and from there I link over to her newest posts.

BrainPickings often focuses on books and authors. Ray Bradbury shows up regularly. Today, I found myself reading another page on Bradbury, and then clicked on an 8-minute video. Bradbury talks about libraries, his creative process, and his absolute love of life. A must see.

Books are smart and brilliant and wise. …Love what you do and do what you love. Don’t listen to anyone else who tells you not to do it. You do what you want, what you love. …Imagination should be the center of your life.
– Ray Bradbury

Click Below to Feel Renewed
Please click the image below (it will take you to YouTube). Your day will improve, I assure you.

Believe in Your Magic

Monday, July 16th, 2012

To create anything — whether a short story or a magazine profile or a film or a sitcom — is to believe, if only momentarily, you are capable of magic.
— Tom Bissell

Magical Moments
The summer is so beautiful! It’s hotter here than in any year before, and the grass has been scorched. In spite of this, I’m feeling very alive.

Here’s a photo of our house a few weeks ago. Can you see that in order to sit in the sun I put my (tiny turquoise) chair in the middle of the back yard? Our lot is almost entirely shady, and this particular day I was really in need of some sunshine.

It’s too hot for the back yard this week. I’m typing this from the east-side porch in our front yard.

What to Create in the Heat?
I’m still editing knitting technique videos, and making hot-weather salads. The pile of recipes I want to try is getting fat while I wait for cool days. In the meantime, I’m drinking a LOT of iced tea!

I’m also making plans for the largest knitting pattern project I’ve ever created. I’ll have big news on that in the next week or so!!

With this enthusiasm, I went looking for quotes which seemed to fit. I’m bursting with excitement and enthusiasm right now! Magic seems real and attainable, at least the magic of creativity.

We are all creative, yes? In our culture, we ignore this… even deny it. People who garden well or cook/bake with love, will tell me they “don’t have a creative bone in (their) body.” How sad. They can’t see what is right in front of them!

Unsung Artforms
We create smiles. We create well-told stories. We create safe spaces, songs, impromptu experiences, long-planned home renovations, day trips. Some of us raise children… the ultimate creative endeavor.

Some of us make the perfect cup of coffee… some present an average cup of tea with a smile and an open, listening ear. Some hug us, console us, bring dinner when a frend is too down or exhausted to face making another meal.

Art is “Pretty Objects?”
Some of us make tangible “pretty” things. Some make tangible art objects which some don’t see as pretty.

Some of these creative outlets are designated “Art” by our culture. I would argue that all are artforms… artful contributions to our worlds and the lives of those around us.

You, indeed, are creative. As the Sufi poet Rumi said:

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.

Now what?
How will you create today? How will you stay awake? Can you feel your magic? Can you believe you are capable of your own sort of magic?

I wish a magical, awakened day for you!

Un-Recipe; Off-the-Cuff Rice Salad

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Are you as hot as we are? It is too warm to cook much today.

Fortunately, Brian made a big batch of rice yesterday and we had leftovers. “Leftovers” is one of my favorite words! Less cooking time always makes me smile. I like eating a lot more than I like cooking.

They say one boost to creativity is to have limitations. Leftovers in the refrigerator means I’m limited to starting with the left over item. It’s amazing what flavors I’ll try together when they are left over on the same day.

Yesterday it was leftover chickpeas and greens (warm, with rice and good olive oil, very nice). Today? Cold rice became a brown rice salad. It was wonderfully satisfying.

We had a can of blackeyed peas in the refrigerator, just waiting to be some sort of salad. I added two chopped fresh carrots and a handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped, from my tiny herbs-in-pots garden on the back porch.

I didn’t use a dressing, really. Olive oil and gomasio (crushed sesame seeds and sea salt) were all that I added. If I’d had a lime, I might have squeezed some of its juice on it.

This salad can be altered very easily. I’m offering guidelines here rather than a true recipe.

Off-the-Cuff Brown Rice Salad

Starch (1-2 cups rice or pasta)
Protein (maybe a can of beans, 1-2 c thawed frozen peas, 1/2 c flavored tofu, or a chopped egg or three)
Chopped Crunchy Vegetable (carrot, celery, bell pepper, kohlrabi)
Fresh Herbs, Optional (basil, dill, cilantro… or your favorite)
Dressing (commercial dressing or great oil with good vinegar or citrus juice)
Optional: Top with Sesame seeds or pepitas (pumpkin seeds sans shells) for extra crunch, minerals and protein.

If you can have a commercial Italian dressing, that would be an easy way to flavor it. In my case (because of food restrictions), I added separate flavorings and fresh herbs.

Just toss it together. If you can let it sit for a while and soak up flavorings, all the better. If you are hungry, dig in and don’t worry about formalities.

Big yum. Cool, clean summer eating. (We had organic fresh strawberries with organic home-whipped cream for dessert… gourmet.)

Creative Messiness

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Colorful Chaos

What a mess! Two days ago I knit five sock heels (not attached to socks, which makes them look like preemie hats). Yesterday I recorded a video using all of those heels (and my Crystal Socklet video sample). I recorded raw video footage for “How to Close a Crystal Heel (or top-down toe).

Options Galore

I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe there is ONE RIGHT WAY to do anything. Unless it’s about safety or law, I tend to explore options.

One situation may require a different approach than another. Or for that matter, I may be in a mood for something easier or something more refined. Maybe I don’t have a sewing needle available… that would inspire me to try something I can accomplish with just knitting needles.

Option-Filled Video

I recorded four different ways to close Crystal/afterthought heels. (Or for that matter, toes on a top-down sock.) Yup, four methods. And the final one? I showed two ways to approach it, though the end result is the same. I recorded the easiest ones first. You can stop watching when you find one you like.

You can now understand why I ended up with the mess I photographed above. It’s a colorful, crazy mess… but I got all the footage shot.

Work Ahead

Today I start editing. I’m eager to share it with you.

At least one of these heel-closing methods I’ve seen exactly once… in a now-out-of-print book. I’ve not seen it used on a sock in real life, and I’ve not seen it in a video.

Folk knitting has so many options! If we get stuck thinking there is ONE TRUE WAY, we miss out on all sorts of other valid possibilities!

With that, I’m saving this post and returning to my video editing software. Let’s hope I only need one day for editing, yes?


I’ve already put up seven knitting videos. They are a walk-through of my Crystal Socklet from the March 2012 Knitty issue.

Videos in the series include how to cast on, a Bosnian toe, increases, stranded two-color knitting, preparing to insert an afterthought heel, how to insert and knit a Crystal heel, and hints on binding off loosely and neatly in the round.

Why all this work, for free?

I wanted to let knitters all over the world learn these techniques, and see my teaching style at the same time. Traveling to teach is something I want to do much more of, and this way knitters everywhere can get a taste of my style “in person” with no risk. It seems win-win to me!

If you would like to see the videos I’ve already published, you can find them at the ColorJoyLynnH YouTube page. Enjoy them, on me!

If you, your shop, or guild are hiring instructors for a workshop or retreat… I’m interested. Let’s connect. Write me here: Lynn AT ColorJoy DOT com

Gratitude – Short… and Sweet

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Today I’m grateful for hot tea. Grateful for weather where hot tea isn’t too hot. Grateful for 3 yr old boy next door full of summer and himself, running and exclaiming about the sun. Grateful for a quiet day in which to work.

I’m still working on knitting videos. It’s much more time consuming than I’d ever expected. However, I love that I can teach people all over the world, and show potential new friends my style, while I’m at it.

Grateful for you, reading my posts… no matter how short. Love ya.

Lansing – Cool Off with Me Tonight?

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Breaking news for Lansing Friends- I dance at New Aladdins Frandor tonight!

A/C, great food, 2 dancers. Shows 6:30 & 7:30. No cover; tips appreciated.

Perhaps you’d come out? I’d love to see you.